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Full text of "The act of faith"

}*El.RCTEb FOIt TttE SOLDIERS.] No. 356"-. 

THE ACT OF FAITH. 



<( Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shah be 
saved." — Ac(hK'): il. 

I once «aw a lad on the roof of a very higfi building, 
where several men were at- work. He v, as gazing about, 
with apparent unconcern, when suddenly his toot slipped, 
and he fell, hi falling he caught by a rope, tmd hung sus- 
pended in mid-air, where he could neither get up nor down, 
and where it was evident he could sustain himself but a 
short time. He perfectly knew his situation, and expect- 
ed that in a few moments, he must drop upon the rocks 
below, and be dashed to pieces. 

At this fearful moment, a kind and powerful man rush- 
ed out of the house, and standing beneath him with ex- 
tended arms, called out, "Let go the rope, and I will 
receive you. I can do it. Let go the rope, and I promise 
you shall escape unharmed." 

The boy hesitated a moment, and then quit his hold, 
and dropi ed easily and safely into the arms of his deliv- 
erer. Here, thought I, is an illustration of faith. Here 
is a simple act of faith. The boy was sensible of his dan- 
ger. He saw his deliverer, and heard his voice. He be- 
lieved in him, trusted to him, and letting go every other 
dependence and hope, dropped into his arms. 

So must a sinner distinctly apprehend his guilt and h>s 
awful e.rpo>.nre by nature. He must know where he is, 
and what he needs, before he will apply to Christ for help 
He must see distinctly, that he is a sinner — atransgresso 
of God's law, and a rebel against his throne. He mustsee 
that he has incurred the sentence of the law; that it is a just 
sentence, and that he is liable every moment to sink and 
perish under i't. He must see that, so far as his own ef- 
forts are concerned, there is no possibility of escape. He 
can make no amends, no expiation, for his psst sins. The 
long catalogue of h is transgressions standsarrayed against 
him ; and for aught he can do, there it must stand. The 
sentence of the law has been passed upon him, and for 
aught he can do, it must be speedily executed ; and if it 
is executed, it will sink him for ever; for this sentence is 
no other than eternal death : "eternal dastructinn from 



t TWE ACT OF FAITH. 

the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his pow- 
er." 2 Thess. I : !>. In this awfully exposed, and so tar 
sis he is concerned, helpless and hopeless condition, he 
mast see himself, before he will consent to drop into the 
arms of the Saviour, and accept deliverance on the con- 
ditions of the gospel. . 

And he must see more than this. He mast see who the 
Saviour is, and what lie has done, and what is' his ability 
and readiness to save. Suppose the boy, suspended by 
the rope, had seen another little boy like himself come 
out of the house and stretch his weak arms, and call 
upon him to trust to him for deliverance, tie would 
have cried out at once, "You cannot save me. Get out 
of the way, or I shall fall and crush myself and you." 
Just so the convicted sinner fee's, when invited to put his 
trust in a man like himself. " A mere human deliverer!" 
he exclaims — "do you mean to mock me? What can 
such a. deliverer do for a wretch like me? What can he 
do with those mountains of guilt which are pressing upon 
ine, and with that deathless worm which is gnawing 
within me? What can he do with the dreadful sentence 
of the law which hangs over me, and the devouring flames 
which are kindled to consume me? 7 The sinner feela 
now that he needs a divine Saviour, an almighty Saviour 
— onewhoisahleto "saveto the uttermost'' — one whose 
"blood cleanseth from all sin." He feels that no other 
Saviour can meet the fearful exigencies of his case, or 
can ever do him any good. And when he looks into the 
Bible, and finds that just such a Saviour is provided and 
freely offered ; when he finds that a holy Saviour, whose 
word is truth — a glorious Saviour, altogether deserving 
his confidence and love ; when, with the eye of faith, he 
sees the Saviour standing beneath him, extending his 
mighty arms to receive him, and calling out to him to 
let go all his false dependences and hopes, and drop at 
once into his faithful hands: what should prevent him 
from doing it — from simply putting forth the act of faith, 
and- falling into the kind and gracious arms of his Deliv- 
erer?.- tie obviously has all the knowledge and convic- 
lion that. are necessary, av-d he lias only now to believe 
jn Christ, to trust to him, to fall into his embrace, and live 



THE ACT 01' FAITH. 9 

for ever. But suppose a, man, while hanging, as it worn, o- 
ver the j-wsof death, begins to doubt the<ibility or the readi- 
•ffess oi Ohrifit to save. Suppose lie begins to reason with 
himself, "My soul is of great value, and the difficulties 
in the way of my salvation are great. How do I know 
that this Jesus can save me — that he can cleanse such a 
polluted heart, and rescue snch a vile and guilty sinner? 
Or if he can, how do I know that ne will ? He may not 
be sincere in his offers. It may be he only intends 
to tritie with my misery." Would not this be a high af- 
front and indignity offered to the benevolent Saviour ? 
"Would it not provoke him soon to withdraw his gracious 
hand, and say, "Well, sinner, it you are determined not 
to be saved, then you must perish. W you will not trust 
in 7/K, then you must be cast off forever." 

Or suppose that, while the Saviour is crying, "Look 
unto me, and be ye saved," you should say, " I am not 
worthy to come to Christ as I now am. I must wait till 
I have done something to recommend me to his regards." 
And suppose the Saviour should continue crying, "Come 
just as you are ; come in all your vileness, and be cleansed 
in the fountain of my blood ;" and you still hold back, 
and persist in the struggle, and hang upon the vain ex- 
cuse ; might lie not be expected soon to withdraw, and 
leave an unbelieving rebel to perish ? 

)pose you should say, "How came I to be a sinner ? 
God permit me to sin, or permit sin to come 
vorld ?" Or, " .how can I believe of myself? Is 
the gift of God? and until the gift is bestowed, 
I do but patiently to wait for it?" Or suppose 
you fly to the other extreme, and say, " I can believe and 
secure my salvation whenever I please; I need be in no 
haste about it. I will put off the work till a more conve- 
nient season." Or suppose you alledge that you are not 
yet enough convicted; have not had enough feeling, 
enough distress, to render it possible for you to come to 
Christ. Suppose you speculate and trifle, and think to 
throw off present obligation in either of these ways ; what 
must be the feelings of the Saviour in regard to you ? 
Here the poor rebel hangs over the pit of destruction, 
ready to drop at once into the burning lake : and here the 




4 THE ACT OF FAITH. 

Saviour stands in all his fulness, offering to rescue him, 
and pleading with him to submit, and live. What more 
likely method could lie take to seal and secure his own 
destruction? 

Suppose the boy suspended by the rope, instead of 
dropping into the arms extended to receive him, had in- 
sisted on first knowing how he came to fall — " How came 
my foot to slip, and I to make this fearful plunge ? Why 
did not the men on the roof take better care of me? Or 
suppose he had said, "I have no power to let go the rope. 
My hands are fast clenched upon it, and how can I open 
them of myself?" Or, " I can let go and be delivered at 
any time, and I choose to hang a little longer. Perhaps 
I have not yet had enough distress." Would ho not be 
evidently beside himself? And yet such is the conduct of 
the great mass of sinners, and of serious, awakened sin- 
ners under the gospel. 

Reader, what is your state? Are you yet in your sins? 
Do you see your dreadful guilt and exposure? And do you 
anxiously seek and inquire for deliverance? If not, it will 
be in vain to direct you. You will not follow any direc- 
tions, if given. But if you see yourself to be all guilty 
and exposed; if your feelings prompt you to inquire, 
with the trembling jailer, "Sirs, what must I do to be 
saved?" then it is easy and pleasant to direct you, to 
point you to the compassionate Saviour. There lie stands, 
with outstretched' arms, waiting to intercept your fall. 
Hear him calling. Hear him inviting. "Come, come, 
for all things are now. ready." Sinner, yield to him. Yield 
at once. Do rot doubt his ability to save you. Do not 
doubt thesineerityof his offers. Do not wait to make your- 
self better. Do not hesitate or speculate a moment. Re- 
member, that the question before you is one <>f tight ami 
wrcna; and it is also one of salvation or dcstiuc'ion. You 
cannot delay without adding to your sin, and hazarding 
the interests of your immortal soul. Now, then is your 
time. Now, while you are reading and pondering these 
lines — now, while the pressure of obligation is strong upon 
you, let go, at once, every other dependence, and fall into 
the arms of your all-powerful Deliverer.